STREETS PAVED WITH GOLD

28 November 2014


Time for a reminder that London and the southeast, those replete ogres and fatcat monsters of Cornish political nationalist and piranist fantasy, are not of a piece. There is poverty and deprivation there too.

First, here is a recent report on a London from the Centre for London telling a story that many in Cornwall appear not to know about: Hollow promise: how London fails people on modest incomes and what should be done about it (September 2014). And there’s London’s poverty profile 2013 another account of poverty in the golden streets.

Second, here are a couple of reports on poverty in Kent in the southeast:

Huge numbers of Kent children living in poverty

The hidden problem of poverty in Kent

I mentioned recently the comparison made by John Pollard, the leader of Cornwall Council, of rural Cornwall with pampered urban Hackney in London and showed how deprived many people, adults and children, in Hackney were. Last year in the post Mirror, mirror, on the wall, where’s the poorest of us all I pointed out that it is part of a ward in Essex that is the poorest of us all.

The UK government has cut its funds to Cornwall Council (and other councils) and the Council has in turn had to cut its spending on most services. I think we are seeing a fundamental rejigging of local government in England that is spasmodic, unplanned, and undiscussed. Anyway, Newcastle council has compared the cuts 2010/11-2013/14 for each council in England. You can access the data here; and it also gives the 2010 rankings for the Index of multiple deprivation (IMD) of each local authority.

Note that Cornwall has had cash cuts of £95.16 per person during 2010/11-1014/15. That puts Cornwall at 120 out of 324 local authorities (where 1 is worst). As I have written so many times, Cornwall is not uniquely deprived and poor; there are many places in England (and the rest of the UK) that experience more deprivation; and Cornwall is not singled out for unfair funding.

Back to the Pollard comparison: let me point out that the Newcastle data shows that Hackney had a cut of £337.91 per person, that is the largest cash cut of the 324.

Yes, there is great wealth for some people in parts of London and the southeast; there is also great poverty. The Cornwall county flag may be black and white but life seldom is.


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CORNWALL AND HACKNEY

12 September 2014


The other day John Pollard, the leader of Cornwall Council, talking about the funding by central government of rural and urban areas in England, said, “We currently receive less than half the money per head of population than that given to Hackney”.

Even if you think there is an urban/rural imbalance in funding and it should be righted, this is an ill-advised comparison. I’ve noted before simplistic Cornwall comparisons: see here for an MK one.

Anyway, let’s take up the challenge and compare Cornwall and Hackney over several fields.

I have chosen from the numerous fields that show how much more widespread deprivation and poverty are in Hackney than in Cornwall, aspects that should figure in the redistribution of central government funds to local authorities. Disadvantage impacts upon local government spending on services like housing, education, social care, and culture. Of course in some fields Hackney does better but the decider factors of government redistribution point to Hackney worse off than Cornwall. And of course in some fields, for example job seeker’s allowance for the unemployed, the funding is separate from that given directly to local councils. I am trying to show how Hackney suffers wide disadvantage.

I give a link to the online sources at the end of each section; note that at the source there may be other tables presenting information in various ways.

Note 4 April 2015: I have put here up-to-date data for the various items as in the post Fair funding for Cornwall of 3 April 2015

Index of multiple deprivation 2010 (next IMD due 2015)
This is a major measure of deprivation across several components such as income and housing. I have taken the rank of scores where 1 indicates the worst overall deprivation of 326 local authorities:

Cornwall 110
Hackney 2 (that is, worse than 324 of the 326 local authorities)

Source

Free school meals
Percentage of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals, January 2014, in state funded nursery and primary schools and secondary school

Cornwall 13.5% in nursery and primary schools, 11.9% in secondary schools
Hackney 30.2% in nursery and primary schools, 33.9% in secondary schools

Source

Child poverty 2014
Cornwall 16.90% of children in poverty (before housing costs), 26.35 percent (after housing costs)
Hackney 27.46% of children in poverty (before housing costs), 41.37 percent (after housing costs)

Source

Deprivation among pupils
The proportion of pupils eligible for the deprivation pupil premium 2014-2015 (provisional figures):
Cornwall primary pupils 22.5%, secondary 24.2%
Hackney primary pupils 48%, secondary 55.6 %

Source

Bedroom tax
How many are adversely affected by the bedroom tax? These are the percentages for 9 May 2014, the latest available, of the tenants with housing benefit who have that housing benefit reduced because of the bedroom tax/spare room subsidy and the average weekly amount lost:

Cornwall 6.1%, £14.03
Hackney 8.1%, £21.07

Source

Job seekers allowance
This is a measure of unemployment; the figures are the percentage of men and women aged 18-65 claiming job seeker’s allowance in July 2014:

Cornwall 1.4%
Hackney 3.6%

Source Put in the local authority name

Why does Hackney get more than Cornwall?
Why does Hackney get more? Hmm, I wonder if it’s anything to do with the scale of derivation and poverty and disadvantage that the data in the first part of this post shows? Cornwall is not a victim, unfairly funded in general; there are administrative areas of England worse off than us and they rightly get more government help. As I have explained ages ago, we can home in on particular places of severe disadvantage in Cornwall and elsewhere in England and should certainly help them.

Per pupil funding 2014-2015
Incidentally, the per pupil funding for 2014-2015 shows that 56 England local authorities get less than Cornwall. While some are notably prosperous places, the lesser funded also include places like Plymouth, Bury, and Nottinghamshire. The details are in Appendix B here. Of course Hackney gets noticeably more per pupil than Cornwall but you can understand that now.

Beer
Let’s end on good news for some in Cornwall. The Good pub guide 2015 says the average pint of beer in London costs £3.79. In Cornwall it’s £3.19.

Don’t forget to check the original sources to see the smallprint explanations.

Note
The details of the 2014/15 local government funding by central government (the Settlement Funding Assessment)are here. Appendix B shows that Hackney is the highest per-dwelling funded of all the London authorities; several have lower per-dwelling funding than Cornwall.

On 16 September 2014 the Centre for London publishes London’s hollow promise: how the city fails people on modest incomes and what should be done about it, its report on working households in London on low to modest incomes and the housing difficulties and cost of living they face.